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Movie Review

Men of Honor

MPAA Rating: R for language

Reviewed by: Hillari Hunter
CONTRIBUTOR

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Drama
Length:
2 hr. 8 min.
Year of Release:
2000
USA Release:
November 10, 2000
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Cuba Gooding Jr. in “Men of Honor”
Featuring: Robert De Niro, Cuba Gooding Jr., Charlize Theron, Hal Holbrook, David Keith
Director: George Tillman, Jr.
Producer: Bill Cosby, Stanley Robertson, Bill Badalato, Robert Teitel
Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox

“History is made by those who break the rules.”

Young Carl Brashear is told by his sharecropper father to be better and go farther in life than he did. Several years later, Brashear (Gooding) joins the Navy. After demonstrating his prowess as a swimmer, the young man is recommended to diving training camp. There he finds himself up against the racism in the military of the 1940’s and 1950’s, but Brashear is determined to make it. Billy Sunday (DeNiro) was once known as one of the best divers in the Navy, but he suffered an internal injury during a dive. Now he has been regulated to teaching instead of doing, and Sunday is not happy about it. He gives Brashear a hard time, but recognizes that the young man is talented.

Robert DeNiro and Cuba Gooding Jr. in “Men of Honor”

Brashear’s story is a true one, although the movie does take some dramatic liberties with the actual events. He eventually became the first African-American Master Diver in the Navy. The Billy Sunday character did not actually exist, but he’s a composite of many bigoted ranking officers that Brashear encountered while in the Navy. Brashear and Sunday are mirror characters to each other. Brashear has to constantly prove that he is worthy of the responsibility of being a diver; Sunday has to constantly prove that he is worthy enough to continue wearing a Navy uniform.

There is no explicit sex, and some mild verbal sexual references. There is plenty of offensive language in the movie—both curse words and racial epithets—but this story takes place in the military world and most of the men, excuse the cliche, curse like sailors. Audiences should be more offended by the unfair treatment that Brashear suffered in his quest to be a Master Diver. This is ultimately a story of triumph over prejudice and adversity, as well as redemption.


Viewer Comments
I really enjoyed the film Men of Honor. I was an Army Diver for a few years and the movie was something that I can relate to. I did not agree with the drinking and the language, but from past association with divers it was almost true to form. Real life military divers are probably worse. The movie was realistic to a degree. Dive school was probably harder than shown in the movie. The characters were a great choice they really did the movie justice. It is hard to get people interested in a movie in an industry that so little people know about. The producers and director’s did a great job. As for the foul language you here just about as bad as going to the mall or the grocery store. My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Jon Pudleiner, age 24
I went to see Men Of Honor because of Robert De Niro and Cuba Gooding Jr. I had not seen a preview, nor did I know the storyline. As the movie began, and I understood it was a “Navy” movie, I prepared myself for the foul language that I figured they’d bombard us with. And they did. Lots of foul language comes at the outset of the movie. But then the storyline takes over.

Because this movie is based on a true story, I can’t give too much credit for the filmmakers as far as story goes, but the movie was excellent. The heart and soul of the movie enpowers it. You really begin to love and care for Carl (played by Cuba Gooding Jr.) and you really begin to either hate or pray for Sunday (Deniro’s part).

Both actors did an excellent job, though Deniro makes these parts look easy. Cuba is really an under noticed actor. He’s incredible and this role was perfect for him. During the final scenes the whole audience was clapping and cheering. Because of the foul language and racial slurs, I would not recommend this to teens under 17.

It always breaks my heart to see young kids in R rated movies, and I did see a handful of them during this movie. I walked out of that movie thanking God that people’s eyes have been opened to see racism as the evil it is and I’m so thankful how far this country has come since the 50’s. My Ratings: [3/4½]
—Mike Gordon, age 30
My wife and I just came back from seeing Men of Honor. Excellent “true” story! The language was just awful though! Good acting! It made us very sad to see how the whites treated the blacks. My wife cried and I wasn’t too far from it myself. (And I’m a Navy Chief.)

If you want to see a movie about Courage and Determination, Men of Honor is it. By the way, the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ was not taken in vain. There were a lot of G… D… though, and some very intense and “breath stopping” moments! My Ratings: [2/4]
—CPO1 Jacques “Jerry” Lemieux, age 48
The moral rating is offensive because there was a great deal of bad language and the treatment of the main character was so wrong. After saying that, I believe that it is a must see movie because it is a true story and it shows that this did happen and it should help our society make sure something like this never happens again. It is a very sad movie.

I cried from the very beginning all the way through it. Seeing the injustice of a predjudice society and the tragedy of alcoholism in one family was very hard to watch. The strong will and determination of the main character prevailed and a true hero emerged and that was wonderful to see that result after all of the barriers before him. It is a great story. My Ratings: [2/5]
—Monnie T. Armstrong, age 39
Of all of the movies that I have seen this past year, it has to be the best, (except maybe the Patriot). This movie contains a lot of foul language, and does have some content not suitable for children, but is certainly a great movie both in it’s plot, and quality.

The actors are well picked, and everyone plays their respective parts very well. The movie deals with racism as well as many other issues found in the navy even today. I would recommend this movie to anyone except small children. My Ratings: [3½/5]
—Jonathan Duty, age 19
Great movie!! My only let down was the use of the Lord’s name as a swear word, hence my moral rating was not higher. However, the use was realistic to the character portrayed and not for shock value. Even so, filmakers have an endless variety of words to use to emphasize a character’s rough or edgy nature. Despite this one set back, the film was great!

I left the theater feeling pretty good and uplifted. It is a great movie to discuss with neighbors and friends. Overcoming obstacles, determination, friendship, father and son relationships, personal sacrifice, family sacrafices are a few topics to discuss regarding the movie. My Ratings: [3/4½]
—Tony, age 36
“Men of Honor” is a very moving and inspiring true story of a man who wanted nothing short of being the best… for his dad. The movie shows many of our societies flaws, and shows how badly we have treated those who we perceive as different.

But what this movie does best is show that anyone who truly gives something all that they’ve got will triumph in some way. There is some unsavory language, and I would not recommend this movie for children, but I don’t feel there was enough content to warrent this an “R” movie. This is definitely a movie to see… and be prepared to be inspired to “be the best”. My Ratings: [3/4]
—Ben Edwards, age 20
Movie Critics
…a compelling story about honor, courage, determination, fighting injustice, and the bond between loving fathers and sons…
—Dr. Ted Baehr, Movieguide
…Some sexual innuendo, including a reference to oral sex…
—Kids-in-Mind
…at least 13 “f” words…
—ScreenIt!
…an entertaining film with some well-done action sequences, and it deserves credit for dealing with the race issue head-on…
—Bill Muller, The Arizona Republic